Thursday, February 18, 2010

Patents- as American as Apple Pie

From my weekly (AM) radio segment titled "Legal Minute"

Patents represent that great spirit of innovation and discovery that is as American as apple pie so it’s not surprising that most Americans are inventors. We’ve all had good ideas now and then but when we have that useful, non-obvious and novel idea, it’s worth thinking about a patent. Obtaining the patent for our idea means we can have a 17 to 20 year monopoloy in which to profit from the invention. Filing a provisional patent buys an inventor some time before they file the full blown patent application. This process can be more costly but gives inventors the peace of mind to know that they have some protection when speaking with potential manufacturers. Before filing the full patent application, start with an online patent search. The internet makes this easy and inexpensive. If there is no patent representing your idea, then the time may be ripe for your patent. Next, make detailed written records of your ideas from conception, conduct testing of your invention and record that in writing as well. Finally, ensure that your application is clear so that the patent examiner can understand how your invention works and how to build it.